The former Dukes of Hazzard star got candid and emotional during a pre-taped package, that played before he and his pro-partner took the stage, when opening up about his contentious divorce and being estranged from his children.
“I’ve been going through a divorce now for four years and it’s awful,” Schneider said during the show, referring to his tumultuous split from estranged wife Elvira Schneider. “The worst part about it is that it’s wedged itself in between my three adult children and myself.”
The actor went on to say that, during his time on the show, he’d “look in the crowd every Monday” hoping to see one of his children, who’d come out to see him perform.
Speaking with ET’s Katie Krause after the show, Schneider said that the one thing he regrets about his time on the show was that, “my kids still weren’t here.”
“I never thought, in the vision of my life, [what I never saw] was not having a relationship with my children,” he shared. “It more than hurts. ‘Hurt’ is a tiny, tiny word. I don’t have a word for what that feels like.”
Schneider, who was joined by Slater during the post-show interview, sais he “would love” to be able to reconnect with his estranged kids — Leah, Chasen, and Karis, whom he shares with his ex.
“I think they know that, and it’s kind of up to them what they do with that,” Schneider admitted. “I am happier than I’ve ever been [with girlfriend Alicia Allain], and I would love my kids to have been at Dancing With the Stars, but I’d also love my kids to say, ‘Dad, I’ve never seen you so happy, and it’s wonderful.'”
While the Smallville actor said he’s been doing his best to stay positive in life, he admitted that the distance and silence between himself and his kids has been incredibly hard on him.
“This is tough stuff, and it’s real life. It’s the ugly part. And the big ugly part is I don’t know why it’s there,” Schneider shared as he fought back tears. “I feel like I’ve been diagnosed with some kind of cancer, and no one will tell me what it is or why it is or where it is.”
However, there are still things that have helped him keep his head above water. Namely, his girlfriend, and recently his time on DWTS alongside his pro partner.
“It couldn’t have come at a better time because I needed happiness, and I have it,” he said, resting his head on Slater’s.
“Memories of this woman beating dance steps into my two left feet,”[I’ll have those] for the rest of my life,” he said, hugging Slater around her shoulders.
The pair — who performed a well-received jazz routine set to “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” by John Denver — earned a score of 25 out of 30 for their efforts.
It was their highest score of the season, but it wasn’t enough to keep them off the chopping block. They were eventually eliminated, alongside NFL star DeMarcus Ware and his partner, Lindsay Arnold.
The remaining six couples will face off when the Dancing With the Stars semi-finals kick off Monday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.